When we launched our strategic plan Out of the Shadows and Into the Circle, bringing a new focus to the role of family caregivers in the health care system, we wanted to listen and learn from family caregivers as well as frontline health care providers. To do that effectively, we created The Caring Experience project.
The Caring Experience was instrumental in allowing The Change Foundation to better understand the experiences and interactions, as well as the common ground, between family caregivers and those working in Ontario’s health and community care sectors. Through caregiver workshops, focus groups, journey mapping activities, and online surveys, The Change Foundation heard a variety of stories that helped to paint a picture of what areas need the most action for caregivers in Ontario’s health and community care systems. In all, The Change Foundation heard from nearly 300 family caregivers and over 200 Ontario health providers between November 2015 and July 2016.
This work will directly inform the efforts of The Change Foundation throughout the tenure of it’s 2015-2020 strategic plan, specifically the Foundation’s Changing CARE projects.
Family Caregiver Engagement (November 2015 – March 2016)
Phase 1 of The Caring Experience featured a partnership between The Change Foundation and the Ontario Caregiver Coalition (OCC). Working with research and engagement firm Overlap Associates, The Change Foundation and OCC held a number of caregiver workshops (focus groups) across Ontario to intently listen to the experiences of family caregivers. In addition to this activity, Overlap Associates also carried out in-depth caregiver journey mapping activities with individuals, while The Change Foundation and OCC conducted regular, short-form surveys online.
Findings from phase 1 of The Caring Experience can be found in Stories Shared, Voices Heard: Ontario’s Family Caregivers.
Stories Shared, Voices Heard: Ontario’s Family Caregivers is an in-depth report that captures what caregivers shared during The Caring Experience about their experiences and interactions with Ontario’s health and community care sectors. Most importantly, the report features key quotes directly from caregivers on what they want, need, and expect from the health and community care sectors to make their role easier. Appendices within the report provide an overview of the main engagement methods as well.
Health Provider Engagement (February 2016 – June 2016)
Phase 2 of The Caring Experience project included a series of engagement sessions with frontline health care providers, as well as a survey to these individuals across Ontario. For the purpose of this project, frontline health care provider included any professional in the health or community care sector who interacts with family caregivers on a daily basis.
Provider engagement sessions were two-hour workshops facilitated by The Change Foundation staff and structured to gain important perspective on the relationship that exists between frontline health care providers and family caregivers, in addition to to where these different players fit within health and community care settings.
The Change Foundation also circulated a brief survey to frontline health care providers. This separate survey built on the engagement sessions by seeing what interactions between providers and family caregivers look like across the health care spectrum. Participation in a face-to-face engagement session was not a prerequisite.
Findings from phase 2 of The Caring Experience can be found in Stories Shared, Voices Heard: Ontario’s Health Providers.
Stories Shared, Voices Heard: Ontario’s Healthcare Providers is an in-depth report that captures what providers shared during The Caring Experience about their experiences and interactions with family caregivers and what they see as the major issues affecting this relationship. Most importantly, the report features key quotes directly from health providers on what they see as specific challenges in the health and community care systems and their thoughts on what an ideal health care future looks like for caregivers and providers. Appendices within the report provide an overview of the main engagement methods as well.